On the last weekend of November,when the Battling for Health site was down, I had a terrible allergic reaction to something – I don’t know what – that bloated the whole of my face and half-closed my right eye. It all started with a slight itchiness on the cheeks on Friday that developed into real bad rashes on Saturday. Then at a party on Saturday night, my cheeks were burning like mad that I had to leave the party early.
This is the worst allergy attack I had since 1999. That time, I ended up in an emergency clinic where I received anti-histamine IV. This time, I could wait till first thing Monday morning to go to my GP.
What annoys me the most about allergies are:
The itchiness. The urge to scratch my cheeks was so compelling. Lying in bed with my face on the warm bed covers made it almost unbearable. Sleep was practically impossible.
The sleepiness and sleeplessness. Allergic attacks make me tired but I can’t sleep because of the itchiness. What a drag!
The fact that many people do not take it seriously. “It’s only an allergy” they’d say. That was exactly what most of the guest at the party said. Except one guy, who was very concerned that I had to ask him “are you a doctor?” He was. In fact, severe allergy attacks can lead to life-threatening anaphylaxis wherein the patient goes to into respiratory arrest.
People telling me „you should know what you are allergic to.“ Again, only doctors would understand that in 85% of all allergy cases, the allergens are never identified. My GP told me “I have the same problem.”
MANAGEMENT OF ALLERGIES
AVOID THE ALLERGENS
Of course the most logical thing way of managing allergies is to avoid the allergens. If you know what they are. Most often, it is not just one but a combination of different triggers.
If you don’t know the culprit(s), then better apply the ruling our principle.
Is it your clothes? Wear natural fabrics only, avoid synthetics. Apparently, allergies are easily triggered by synthetic fabrics.
Is it something you ate? Do not try out foods or drinks that are not part of your usual fare. This is not the time to be adventurous.
Is it your jewellery? Remove all pieces of jewellery. Some metals such as nickel can trigger allergies.
Is it something in the air? It might be something inside the house, such as molds, spores or dust mites. Go outdoors and get some fresh air. Besides, the cold winter air certainly felt good on my burning cheeks.
I am not really into taking pills or tablets at the drop of a hat. I usually try natural remedies first. But not with allergies. Because with allergies, I’d rather stay on the safe side and go for the well-proven and tested treatments: anti-histamines.
I tool several loratadin tablets during that weekend. My GP gave me a cortisone shot on Monday morning that knocked me out for 3 hours.
The allergy is still persisting, in the form of mild uticaria (hives). I still need medications from time to time. However, loratadin doesn’t seem to work for me anymore. I had to switch to citirizine which works better but somehow makes me sleepy.
I know that this allergy will eventually go away. In the meantime, I simply have to practice patients and use my common sense.